Bright Light Improves Sleep in Patients With Parkinson's Disease: Possible Role of Circadian Restoration

Sci Rep. 2020 May 14;10(1):7982. doi: 10.1038/s41598-020-64645-6.


Parkinson's disease (PD) is one of the most common neurodegenerative disorders. Among the most common manifestations of PD are sleep problems, which are coupled with the adverse effects of dopaminergic therapies (DT). A non-pharmacological solution for these sleep problems has been sought to avoid additional pharmacological intervention. Here, we show that bright light therapy (BLT) is effective for improving sleep in Japanese PD patients receiving DT. Furthermore, experimental evaluation of peripheral clock gene expression rhythms revealed that most PD patients receiving DT who experienced improved sleep following BLT showed a circadian phase shift, indicating the existence of a correlation between circadian modulation and sleep improvement. Conversely, this result indicates that sleep problems in PD patients receiving DT may arise at least in part as a result of circadian dysfunction. Indeed, we found that chronic dopaminergic stimulation induced a rapid attenuation of autonomous oscillations of clock gene expression in ex vivo cultured mouse suprachiasmatic nucleus (SCN) at the single neuron level. In conclusion, BLT is a promising medical treatment for improving sleep in PD patients receiving DT. This BLT-induced improvement may be due to the restoration of circadian function.